Kayak fishing for Big Snapper has really caught on in the last few years with more and more getting into this great form of fishing that can be enjoyed by most with a little bit of fitness and skills required.

You don’t have to break the bank to set yourself up and they require low maintenance to keep them in working order, plus with the price of fuel you can get to the spots that are even too tight for little boats to get to without spending hundreds.

Kayak fishing is a very effective way to target our popular species and the Big Snapper, you can get in closer to fowl ground and areas where other larger crafts can’t.

The engine room in a kayak may not have horsepower but it does produce very little noise disturbance to alert the fishery below you have arrived or above them when fishing.

Accessing rocky outcrops by kayak for a spot of land-based fishing is another advantage. With the correct guidance and equipment kayak fishing is an enjoyable and fast growing recreation sport.

One of the biggest things you must do is make sure you have the correct safety equipment with you and make sure the weather conditions are right for what you are wanting to do, as a lot like kayaking by themselves.

Kayaking for Big Snapper

Some will tell you that fresh squid or pilchards are the best bait, while others will swear by using soft bait, but at the end of the day all of these methods will work when used correctly.
Here are a few tips and tricks to give you the best chance of hooking up some Big Snapper.
No matter where you are fishing, Snapper can always be found around the structure.
Use your sounder to locate drop offs, ledges or channels that have fish hanging around them, also if you are rock fishing look for good ground such as steep drop-offs, and large swash zones.
When you are looking for Big Snapper from your Kayak try to look for schools of fish that are tightly packed on or just above the bottom because the Big Snapper won’t be far away.
One thing that cannot be stressed enough is the importance of berley. You will catch more big snapper when using berley in set areas. The scent helps to lure the big snapper out from the rocks and the weed, so don’t be shy when it comes to berley. Once you have found a good location cast back onto the structure you have found.
Berley pellets are great as they sink and are easy to take a handful of and scatter around your kayak to get the berley trail going.
Fresh baits are hard to beat but If you don’t have fresh bait try and catch some before you start fishing. Sometimes the best bait is the one you caught in your current fishing spot. Yellowtail, Kahawai, Mullet, Bonito, Pilchards and Squid all make excellent bait.
It pays to take a few different kinds out with you as some days Snapper will prefer one bait over the other, and these fish can be very fussy!
Fishing from your Kayak:
Find a rod and reel combo that you are comfortable using whether it be a spinning or overhead setup.
When stray lining you should use the bare minimum of weight to get you to the bottom. Ideally the bait should slowly float down in the current just making contact with the bottom.
Once you set up your rig it is now time to bait your hooks. Again, there are a number of ways to do this depending on which bait you choose to fish with. A whole pilchard or squid bait is a good option when larger fish are present. However, it’s often better to cut the baits in half diagonally, creating long, slim baits that are easily swallowed. Try cutting ‘tentacles’ into the remaining squid hoods to give them some added movement, scent and appeal. When using bonito, kahawai or mullet cut the fillets off both sides of the fish and then cut the fillet into smaller strips. For consistent success, secure your baits in a streamlined manner with the hook points and barbs well exposed. This way the bait is presented very naturally, covers a larger area as it drifts about and is more likely to be picked up by scavenging fish.
The sinker is placed on top of the hooks and is able to run up and down the leader only.
Cast well back behind your kayak, as the bigger more wary fish tend to hang back in the berley trail well away from the noises and shadow you might make. When the line suddenly slackens, you’ll be on the bottom, so engage the reel, wind out any slack line and leave flick on the baitrunner or ensure the drag is set very lightly.
When large snapper bite they have a tendency to hold the bait in their mouth while they swim to a better spot to swallow it.
For this reason, you should let the fish run for a number of seconds before striking to set the hook, if you strike immediately, you run the risk of pulling the bait and hook out of the mouth of the fish.
Once hooked up the first 30 seconds of a fight with a big snapper are the crucial ones. If you can get his head turned off the bottom, chances are it will be yours to keep or lease.
Ideally the bait should slowly drift down the water column making it look as natural as possible and then come to sit nicely on the bottom.
Big snapper often like to mooch and cruise the ledges picking up scraps from your berley.
You may need to adjust your casting distance a few times to discover where the big snapper are holding, once you establish this you can then target that area. To avoid snags, try not to move your line around too much, once you cast, leave the bail wire open for a few seconds to allow the bait to slowly drift down through the water column.
Once the fishing heats up and the berley has brought the fish in close you may find your bait will be smashed well before reaching the bottom so always stay in contact with your bait. If the line becomes slack well before it hits the bottom, quickly flick the bail wire over, wind up the slack slowly. When your rod loads up you can either give the fish some line or strike the fish.
If the line starts peeling out fast soon after casting you will need to quickly flick the bail wire over and strike the fish. Once hooked up the first 15-20 seconds are crucial, give it too much line and it will take you into the rocks and weed. You want to fight these fish hard as they do play dirty so turning the head after the first big run is vital. This will turn it away from the rough and will give you a good chance of winning the fight.
There is a lot of trial and error to big snapper fishing from a kayak and you may need to adapt your approach for different locations, but if you try some of these big snapper tips and apply them right you might just catch that big one you are wanting.